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Thrills, spills and staph infections: Inside Perth's first UFC tournament

11 February 2018 5:03 AM
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In WA's first ever UFC event, Australian Tyson Pedro has sent fans wild after pulling off a stunning victory over Russian Saparbek Safarov in their light heavyweight fight at Perth Arena on Sunday.

The first fight of the main card at Arena didn't even make it to the second round after New South Welshman Pedro won by submission.

"I told you we were going to come put on a show, even though Rob isn't here," Pedro said, in reference to the withdrawal of Australian middleweight champion Robert Whittaker from the main bout.

Australian heavyweight Mark Hunt is part of the main card, and he will improve his chances of earning a world title bout if he can beat American Curtis Blaydes.

In another heavyweight showdown, former Sydney Roosters junior Tai Tuivasa takes on Frenchman Cyril Asker.

Victorian Jake 'The Celtic Kid' Matthews will take on China's Li Jingliang in a welterweight bout on the main card.

The main event is a showdown between middleweights Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold.

Romero failed to make weight on Saturday, meaning he won't earn the interim middleweight title if he beats Rockhold.

The Cuban was also forced to forfeit a reported 30 per cent of his purse to his American opponent.

Rockhold will earn the interim middleweight belt if he wins, setting up a clash with middleweight champion Whittaker later this year.

Whittaker was initially set to defend his title against Rockhold in Perth, but the Australian was forced to withdraw from the bout because of illness after contracting a staph infection.


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